The Community Garden at Canadian International School (CIS) won an award in 2023 for excellence in gardening among eductional institutions. Here, the team provides an insight into how students develop their love of gardening in this eco-garden developed by students.
How did the eco-garden at the Canadian International School come about?
Our students are encouraged to pursue their interests in sustainability and even spearhead their own eco-projects at CIS. The garden was a project by Grade 8 students. They turned a previously under-utilised rooftop space into an eco-garden. This was sparked by their learnings about climate change and Singapore’s goals of reducing its carbon footprint by way of the SG Green Plan 2030. The garden is only 20 months old and is maintained by CIS students.
Tell us about the sustainable measures in the garden.
The Community Garden aims to encourage the school community to explore the three pillars of sustainability.
#1 Environmental projects are centred around the overall greening of the Canadian International School. These include upcycled vertical plant palettes, harvesting food sources and maintaining the vertical hydroponics system. The space serves as a dynamic learning environment. Primary and secondary students visit for class activities such as gathering data or documenting the biodiversity in the area.
#2 Social projects provide all students with the chance to collaborate, build friendships and connect with the outdoors as they acquire essential gardening skills.
#3 Economic projects provide the school’s gardeners with more autonomy to develop the garden’s long-term economic sustainability. These include setting up a community garden fridge in the atrium selling upcycled hanging planters, freshly harvested vegetables and more. CIS parents, staff and students make their purchases using an honour system. All proceeds go back to the upkeep of the garden.
How does sustainability look on the CIS campus?
Sustainability is one of the major concepts that all subjects link to in CIS’s IB Programme. Students learn and are fully aware of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Students are also taught to relate daily school activities to specific sustainability goals. This includes collecting food waste for composting, encouraging the use of recycling bins in all classrooms, and specific lessons on sustainability such as the Middle Years unit on sustainable cities.
Portable hydroponic systems are incorporated throughout the campus. These provide students with first-hand experience and demonstrating the feasibility of sustainable agriculture in an urban world with increasingly compact spaces.
The garden received a Top 50 Community in Bloom Award for Educational Institutions by NParks in 2023. What does the award mean for CIS?
The award recognises excellence in gardening across criteria of aesthetics, horticultural practice, community involvement, biodiversity and sustainability efforts in education institutes and organisations.
Students involved in this eco-garden project were thrilled and proud to receive the award. It is framed and displayed prominently near the garden. The award serves as an inspiration to encourage future generations of students to be part of this sustainable journey.
Hear from students at the Canadian International School
“My interest in environmental sustainability began during my primary year-end exhibition, with my research topic on responsible waste management on Pulau Semakau. I joined the community eco-garden initiative because I wanted to make a difference in CIS, and inspire others to join the cause to live more sustainably.” – Horace S, Grade 7
“This academic year, I joined Green Machine (a student-led sustainability group at CIS). I enjoy gardening and creating projects related to plants – terrariums, mesocosms, floral arrangements. I also want to develop my current understanding of gardening from what my grandfather taught me when I was growing up.” – Julienne B, Grade 11
This article first appeared in the February 2024 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
Read on for more about how Canadian International School students engage in purposeful play. Also, here are 24 great outdoor and indoor playgrounds to check out. To make the most of living in Singapore, read our latest City Guide here for free!